The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.


MDH issues window visiting guidance

 By Doug Beardsley |  June 19, 2020  |  All providers

On June 12, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued “Guidance for Window Visits at Long-Term Care Facilities,” which applies to both nursing facilities and assisted living communities. The guidance outlines a series of issues to consider and criteria to follow if the facility elects to allow window visits and assist in coordinating them.

Key elements from the MDH guidance 
  1. If the resident’s window will be open during the visit, the resident should stay three feet back from the window and the family member visiting the resident should sit three feet back from the window outside the building
    1. Care Providers of Minnesota note: Open windows with screens intact are preferred, as they will help with voice transfer compared to a closed window and the screen will prevent unintended (or intended) contact; instead of the resident being three feet from the window, consider placing the resident right up to the window and the guest six feet back from the window outside for better communication and visual connection
  2. Staff can be creative about how they mark out the place families can sit outside the window
    1. Care Providers of Minnesota note: Consider something more than a line on the ground; if possible, engineer the space so it is clear where the minimum six feet threshold exists—make it difficult to not comply with the six-foot minimum distance
  3. Source masking must always be worn by all parties

The guidance does not create exceptions or exclusions for COVID-19 positive residents or residents in quarantine/observation—if masks are worn and the six-foot distance is maintained. 

This guidance applies to visits via a window, it does not apply to outdoor visits where both the resident and visitors would be outside (that type of visit is currently prohibited, but MDH is also working on outdoor visit guidance). 

Note the guidance states the following: “Facilities must work with residents and their visitors to allow window visits to make sure they are safe, and rules are followed.” MDH representatives clarified that this is guidance and not a regulatory requirement.

Doug Beardsley  |  Vice President of Member Services  |  |  952-851-2489


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Care Providers of Minnesota is a non-profit membership association with the mission to Empower Members to Performance Excellence. Our 900+ members across Minnesota represent non-profit and for-profit organizations providing services along the full spectrum of post-acute care and long-term services and support. We are the state affiliate for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, and with our national partners we provide solutions for quality care.

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